Music Features

Now Is the Time
10:30 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Old Love Story, Old Computer

from Graham Reynolds: The Difference Engine

It's a story as old as love, and a computer before there were computers, on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 8th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Philip Lasser's Nicolette et Aucassin are in love, and like Romeo and Juliet, their families disapprove. Unlike R&J, however, this ends happily. Two sopranos sing the 13th-century–inspired musical lines of the boy and girl, and actor Michael York's narration fills in the story.

A triple concerto for violin, cello, piano, and strings is the construction behind The Difference Engine by Graham Reynolds. The title is the name of a machine by the 19th-century inventor Charles Babbage, who was trying to build what we now call a computer. With movements such as "The Cogwheel Brain" and "Cam Stack and Crank Handle," Reynolds invents a propulsive concerto that imagines what goes with what. Like love, we suppose.

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Now Is the Time
7:16 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Ice Canyons

from Barton McLean: Ice Canyons

It's ice and echoes on Now Is the Time, Saturday, February 1st at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Figure-skating and Stravinsky inspire Joan Tower's gliding Petroushskates, and Allen Ginsberg narrates his own poem in Echorus by Philip Glass, for two violins and strings. From the CD Winter is Eric Ewazen's Elegia, for trumpet and piano.

The Tibetan Heart Mantra is at the center of Echoes by Paul Fowler, for the women of The Crossing, and Peru echoes in the harpsichord work by Kent Holliday, Dances from Colca Canyon. Barton McLean runs environmentalist John Muir's descriptions of glaciers through his own software to construct Ice Canyons. The echoes of minimalism by way of Steve Reich close out the program, in this recording of New York Counterpoint arranged by saxophonist Dave Camwell for his CD Time Scape.

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Videos We Love
6:01 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Is This Your Type of Video? Take A Look And A Listen!

Leroy Anderson has just the right touch with The Typewriter composed in 1950. It's one of many short, light orchestral works that the prolific composer wrote between 1946 and 1970. Many were performed by the Boston Pops under the direction of Arthur Fiedler.

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert
8:23 am
Sun January 26, 2014

The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Helene Grimaud Plays Brahms, Jan. 26 at 1 PM

Pianist Helene Grimaud

This past December, Michael Tilson Thomas, substituting on short notice for an ailing Yannick Nezet-Seguin, joined pianist  Hélène Grimaud for a Philadelphia Orchestra concert that featured the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, and the Symphonie fantastique of Hector Berlioz. The concert had been performed only days earlier at Carnegie Hall in New York, and the reviews were sensational.

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Crossover
5:36 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Like Father Like Son: Violinist Michael Ludwig Leads His Father's Orchestra on Jan. 26th

Violinist Michael Ludwig

The relationship of children to parents is not an easy thing to explain. Suffice it to say, we are products of our home environment and we can often give credit to parents for steering their children into the paths that may lead them to the proper education which in turn can result in satisfying intellectual achievement. and perhaps even professional success.

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Now Is the Time
10:24 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Music for Four Hands

from Lance Hulme: Manic Music

It's music for different duos on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 25th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Charles Knox's Suite for Piano Four-Hands is puckish and not a little bold: its six movements take four minutes to play, and include an "Etude" that lasts all of six seconds. Chen Yi channels, for two violins and strings, two ancient Chinese instruments in her Romance of Hsiao and Ch’in, and George Crumb, in his Otherworldly Resonances for two amplified pianos, honors, in the "Palimpsest" movement, old manuscripts that have been erased and written over (and quotes the Gospel song "Bringing in the Sheaves").

Van Stiefel sets poetry of Sidney Lanier for voice and two electric guitars in Souls and Raindrops, and Ursula Mamlok's brilliant Sonatina is for two clarinets. Lance Hulme composed Manic Music, he said, for "two maniacal pianists," and the playing seems to demand a certain craziness, as cavalier as you can be while staying in step with your duo partner.

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Crossover
8:39 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Mandolinist Avi Avital: Between Worlds

Avi Avital's latest release is BETWEEN WORLDS

"Forgetting borders" is what he calls it in the liner notes of his latest CD. He's mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital, and that CD on the Deutsche Grammophon label is, Between Worlds.

The disc is a journey with, and a tribute to, those 20th-century classical composers who used music based on folk traditions in their own works. A genre-defying tour of the globe, the program on Between Worlds ranges from Dvořák, Bloch, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla to folk dances from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Spain and Cuba.  

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Now Is the Time
2:11 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

from Steven R. Gerber's "Goin' Home," from Spirituals

We reflect on a legacy of greatness on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 18th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Yehudi Menuhin said this: "I look to music to bind and heal. I think the musician can be a trusted object, offering his fellow men solace, but also a reminder of human excellence. I believe as strongly as ever that our finite world turns on finite individual efforts to embody an ideal."

Steven Gerber's Spirituals for strings and Curt Cacioppo's Contrapuntal Fantasy on John Newton's "Amazing Grace" for piano spin the teardrop crystals of an American heritage in the sunlight of varied compositional languages. Leslie Adams sets African-American poets, including Langston Hughes, in Nightsongs. And in Stèle for solo violin, Karel Husa pays tribute to Menuhin, whose greatness went beyond music. Each of these works points us to ideals beyond our finite selves, something Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us of whenever we remember his legacy.

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Crossover
4:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Unassuming Virtuoso: Pianist Jeffrey Biegel

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel speaks with Jill Pasternak on Crossover, Saturday, June 15, 2013.

There's just something about pianist Jeffrey Biegel that strikes you as, well, different.  A virtuoso among those of the highest caliber, he's also incredibly modest and unassuming.  In some ways, just the guy next door.  You'd never know you were in the company of greatness...until he starts playing.  Then you know just who and what you're dealing with.

One of Steinway and Sons' first recording artists, Mr. Biegel has just released his third CD with the label, A Grand Romance.  Listening to the CD takes you back to a time when virtuoso pianists would "romance" their audiences with something other than the most serious of works.  It was a time when lighthearted sentiment, charm and technical prowess came together to woo the listener with pure entertainment.

Considered one of the great pianists of our time, Jeffrey Biegel has created a multi-faceted career as a pianist, recording artist, composer and arranger. His electrifying technique and mesmerizing touch have received critical acclaim and garner praise worldwide. Born a second-generation American, Mr. Biegel's roots are of Russian and Austrian heritage. Until the age of three, Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The 'reverse Beethoven' phenomenon can explain Mr. Biegel's life in music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years.

In 1985, Leonard Bernstein said of Mr. Biegel, "He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer." These comments helped to launch his 1986 New York recital debut, as the recipient of the coveted Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Award, in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Alice Tully Hall. He has been heard in recital in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Cincinnati, London, Paris, Tokyo, Oslo, Mexico City, plus a multi-city tour of Norway.

Jeffrey Biegel was the unanimous recipient of the prestigious First Grand Prize in the 1989 Marguerite Long International Piano Competition and the First Prize in the 1985 William Kapell/University of Maryland International Piano Competition. He studied at The Juilliard School with the legendary artist/teacher Adele Marcus. He made his New York orchestral debut performing Prokofiev's 'Concerto no. 2 in g minor' with the Juilliard Philharmonia, in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

Listen for Jill's conversation with pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and music from his new Steinway and Sons' CD, A Grand Romance, on Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 on WRTI, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 on HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.

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Now Is the Time
2:20 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Time with the Family on Now Is the Time

from Dick Hensold: Dad’s Fantastic! Jig

It's fathers and sons, mothers, sisters, and a child on Now Is the Time, Saturday, January 11th at 9 pm Eastern on the all-classical stream at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Jeremy Beck's String Quartet No. 2 has two movements—I. Fathers, and II. Sons—that regard affinity and opposition in warm and dramatic music. Jerome Kitzke bangs on a toy piano and chants wildly in The Animist Child, a passionate, beguiling work he wrote to celebrate a birth. In Sacred Sisters, Victoria Bond uses ancient chant to celebrate heroines of the Bible: Esther, Ruth, Judith.

Marc Satterwhite looks at the tragedies visited by Chile's Pinochet regime on its citizens, by focusing on The Widows of Calama, who searched the Atacama Desert for the bodies of the missing. Originally for contrabassoon and piano, Satterwhite reworked it for bass clarinet, and the show closes with another wind instrument, the Northumbrian smallpipes. Dick Hensold, in his medley of dances that include Dad's Fantastic! Jig, always seems to walk that edge between poignancy and joy.

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